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Getting kids interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) can be a challenge for parents. But the rise of subscription boxes for science has a solution. Each month, these boxes provide your kids with fun activities and experiments that aim to be enjoyable first and foremost, but also incorporate important scientific concepts and lessons into the entertainment. There are options out there covering most levels, so you should always be able to find something both age-appropriate and tailored to your kid’s particular interest.
Green Kid Crafts for Kids Ages 2-10
Green Kid Crafts is more of a STEAM (STEM with art included) learning tool, with art projects mixed in with the science experiments in each box. Each box contains equipment for four to six activities and a 12-page magazine that guides kids through the activities, explores the concepts in more detail and even suggests books and additional activities.
The boxes cover a wide range of STEM topics, with boxes either tailored to the ages 2 to 5 or 5 to 10, and previous offerings including the Shapes and Structures Box (with some introductory geometry concepts covered) and the Interesting Insects Box (with entomology-related topics looking at bees, butterflies and more). They’re priced as low as $24.95 per month*.
Groovy Lab in a Box – Young Creator Series for Kids Ages 4-7
This monthly subscription box is one of the few science kits that focus explicitly on the needs of younger learners, aged 4 to 7. Groovy Lab in a Box is focused on STEM topics, with each box containing equipment for the projects inside and a 20-page Lab Notebook, which contains guidance for the activities and space to record their results.
Each box is focused on a specific topic – for example, the Clean Water Act – but all of the boxes have a critical thinking and problem-solving aspect. The culmination of the activities in each box is the Engineering Design Challenge, where the kids have to think creatively to solve a problem using the skills, scientific knowledge and equipment they’ve gained from the box. The box costs as low as $24.95 a month* if you pay for a year up-front.
Kiwi Crate for Kids Ages 5-8
The Kiwi Crate from KiwiCo aims to use hands-on projects to teach core concepts in STEM to kids aged 5 to 8. It blends science with arts and crafts, developed by former educators and reviewed by a team including developmental psychologists before getting the go-ahead. Each kit contains what you need to complete the projects, along with an illustrated instruction booklet, a magazine which helps to really cement the scientific content and online resources for additional activities.
For example, a previous box focused on the science of trees, with projects investigating the capillary action trees use to draw moisture up through the soil to their leaves and branches, and another one that looked at the balanced structure of trees. The boxes start as low as $16.95 a month*.
Girls Can! Create for Kids Ages 5-10
The Girls Can! Create box is focused on combining play with STEM education, and in particular learning about the women who have changed the world. Each box contains the equipment for two or three STEAM activities, with a 20-page activity book explaining how to perform the activities it includes, giving background on the science and telling the story of each month’s featured woman. Past boxes have included a focus on Marie Curie (with lessons about X-ray radiation and a related craft project) and an environmental box focused on Wangari Maathai (with projects focused on recycling). The box cost as low as $27.95 a month*, focused on ages 5 to 10.
STEM Discovery Boxes for Kids Ages 7-12
STEM Discovery Boxes are monthly crates containing three STEM projects per month aimed at kids aged 7 to 12. The boxes come with instructions and all of the equipment you need for the science experiments, which focus on a range of topics, including physics, coding, engineering, electronics and chemistry. One example box included hydrophobic (i.e. water-repelling) sand, a project to make (and use) and UV spy flashlight and a pom pom slingshot, all of which incorporate important concepts into a hands-on learning format. The boxes start at $24.95 a month*.
MEL Science – Chemistry for Kids Ages 10-14
The MEL Science boxes are among the best options out there for kids aged 10 to 14, with some of the best experiments and learning opportunities coming in the chemistry kit (although they also have a physics kit). The boxes contain two to three science experiments per month, which are designed by a team of to PhDs (and parents), and all are completely age-appropriate and safe. The lessons have also been proven to help improve kids’ performance on exams. Some previous experiments include investigating the colors of flames when you burn different metals, growing a tin dendrite tree and one about different approaches to stopping the corrosion of metal. The boxes cost start at $34.90 a month*.
Beautiful Discovery for Kids Ages 9+
Beautiful Discovery takes a more artistic approach than many of the STEM kits on this list, with a focus on intricate and beautiful patterns that also have a broader scientific or mathematical significance. By exploring the patterns through art, origami, (simple) coding and games, the boxes teach deep lessons in combination with the included booklets. One example is a box focused on the spirals found in nature, and how they often relate to the golden ratio (phi), as well as the link with the Fibonacci sequence. The kits are aimed at kids aged 9 and over, although pre-teens may need some help from an adult to get the most out of them. The monthly subscription costs as low as $29*.
Creation Crate for Teenagers
Creation Crate is one of the best subscription boxes if you’re looking to instill an interest in coding (C++) and electronics into your teen. The boxes cover a wide range of topics in electronics and coding, with increasingly-challenging projects that build on the knowledge built up over the course of your subscription in the manner of a school curriculum. For example, the initial project involves creating a mood lamp, which introduces the basics of variables and coding (as well as elementary electronics) and later projects go much further, using light-dependent resistors to design and program an optical theremin. The boxes cost $29.99 a month*, with a total of 18 projects in the program.
*Prices reflect accurate pricing as of publication.
About the Author
Lee Johnson is a freelance writer and science enthusiast, with a passion for distilling complex concepts into simple, digestible language. He's written about science for several websites including eHow UK and WiseGeek, mainly covering physics and astronomy. He was also a science blogger for Elements Behavioral Health's blog network for five years. He studied physics at the Open University and graduated in 2018.